White House Shares ‘Doctored’ Footage To Justify Trump’s Run-In With CNN
By Mikelle Leow, 09 Nov 2018
Video screenshot via NBC News
Just as those who lived in the pre-Photoshop age depended on photographs for evidence, people have been relying on video recordings as damning proof of someone’s innocence, although the birth of AI-altered clips, known as deepfakes, shows that the line between truth and fiction is starting to get fuzzy.
Nonetheless, it is apparent to several viewers who watched a piece of footage uploaded by President Trump’s administration that the snippet might have been “doctored.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Press Secretary of the White House, posted what appeared to many as a butchered clip of a female White House aide stepping in to grab a microphone from CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
Trump had repeatedly refused to answer Acosta’s queries regarding the investigation of the Trump campaign’s affiliations with Russia; Acosta eventually had his press pass suspended by the White House for “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”
There was physical contact during the interaction, and the reporter had apologized by saying, “Pardon me, ma’am.”
“We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video,” Sanders defended.
However, when Sanders’ snippet was placed aside the video published on national television by NBC News, viewers believed that the White House’s version had been altered for dramatic effect to make it look like Acosta had “karate chopped” the intern’s arm.
“The intern’s reach for the mic is slowed down, and the ‘chop’ motion is accelerated,” noted Slate writer Aymann Ismail, who uploaded his analysis of the clip. “You can see the edit when the clips are side by side and slowed down to quarter speed.”
“Video is absolutely doctored. You can see the edit when the clips are side by side and slowed down to quarter speed.”
A forensic investigation launched by the The New York Times found that the White House had reposted a video from Paul Joseph Watson, a contributor of Infowars, which is a conspiracy site that is banned from networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video. pic.twitter.com/T8X1Ng912y— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
The clip being shared by the WH Press Secretary and Infowars has been slowed down then sped up to create the illusion of a karate chop.— Aymann Ismail (@aymanndotcom) November 8, 2018
Original video here: https://t.co/8LNcAOKjXd
The intern's reach for the mic is slowed down, and the "chop" motion is accelerated. Here's an annotated side by side comparison: pic.twitter.com/wLCG5GVdo1— Aymann Ismail (@aymanndotcom) November 8, 2018
Further analysis: video is absolutely doctored. You can see the edit when the clips are side by side and slowed down to quarter speed. See for yourself: pic.twitter.com/4ZZrzhislg— Aymann Ismail (@aymanndotcom) November 8, 2018
This is a video that Infowars made. They sped it up so that it seems more violent than it is. https://t.co/FH1tsGSSaU— Nicole Goodkind (@NicoleGoodkind) November 8, 2018
[via The New York Times, videos via various sources, cover image via NBC News]
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